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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | March 21, 2018


New design produces true lithium-air battery
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at Argonne National Laboratory have designed a new lithium-air battery that works in a natural-air environment and still functioned after a record-breaking 750 charge/discharge cycles.
Researchers explore enzymetic activities based on nanocomplex sensors
A team of researchers from Ludong University compared the susceptibility of different triangle silver nanoprisms (TSNPRs) towards H2O2 and elucidated the influence of capping agents and structural size on the etching process, with the aim of optimizing TSNPRs for H2O2 etching-based biosensors, such as glucose and glucose oxidase.
New insights into the late history of Neandertals
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have sequenced the genomes of five Neandertals that lived between 39,000 and 47,000 years ago.
Pregnancy and motherhood during surgical training: Results of a nationwide survey
Research reveals significant cultural challenges and infrastructure shortcomings that led respondents to seriously consider leaving residency and report they would advise against pursuing a career in surgery.
A new way of thinking about tau kinetics, an essential component of Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease is most often characterized by two different pathologies in the brain: plaque deposits of a protein called beta-amyloid and tangles of another protein called tau.
Drought-induced changes in forest composition amplify effects of climate change
The face of American forests is changing, thanks to climate change-induced shifts in rainfall and temperature that are causing shifts in the abundance of numerous tree species, according to a new paper by University of Florida researchers.
First 'non-gene' mutations behind neurodevelopmental disorders discovered
In the largest study of its kind, genetic changes causing neurodevelopmental disorders have been discovered by scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and their collaborators.
The problem of jaguars and space in western Paraguay
A recent study, published in the journal Mammalia, shows how researchers used GPS technology and new analytical techniques to produce the first rigorous estimates of jaguar spatial needs and movements in the Gran Chaco and Pantanal ecosystems of Paraguay.
Systems approaches to optimizing deep brain stimulation therapies in Parkinson's disease
Systems biologists, physicists, and engineers have intensively worked at computational tools to analyze, predict, and optimize the effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) to treat chronic neurological diseases.
Health-related quality of life for patients with vascular malformations
Patients with vascular malformations, which include blood vessel, artery and lymph vessel abnormalities, appear to have more pain and mental health distress than the general US population and that can contribute to poor health-related quality of life.
Brain stethoscope listens for silent seizures
By converting brain waves into sound, even non-specialists can detect 'silent seizures' -- epileptic seizures without the convulsions most of us expect.
New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data
Research led by the University of Southampton is helping governments in low-income countries strengthen their capacity to build and use population maps, to plan for the future and respond to emergencies.
Tai chi as good as or better than aerobic exercise for managing chronic pain
The ancient martial art of tai chi has similar or greater benefits than aerobic exercise for people with the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia, finds a trial published by The BMJ today.
Certain pain medications linked to increased heart risks
Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) was associated with an 18 percent increased risk of atrial fibrillation -- an irregular, often rapid heart rate -- in a study of middle-aged adults in Taiwan.
Lymph node surgery could be avoided for some women with aggressive types of breast cancer
Sentinel lymph node biopsies, where lymph nodes are surgically removed to check for signs of breast cancer spread, could be safely avoided for some women, according to research presented at the 11th European Breast Cancer Conference.
Sitting and physical inactivity may increase risk of urinary tract symptoms
Prolonged sitting time and low physical activity levels were linked with the development of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in a BJU International study of 69,795 middle-aged Korean men.
Physicists reveal material for high-speed quantum internet
Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology have 'rediscovered' a material that can lay the foundation for ultrahigh-speed quantum internet.
Evidence for a giant flood in the central Mediterranean Sea
Marine scientists have uncovered evidence of one of the largest floods in Earth's history in the central Mediterranean seafloor.
Researchers observe the switching of ras protein in detail
Ras proteins are molecular switches that decide if and when cells divide inside our bodies.
Machine learning predicts which patients benefit from prostate multiparametric MRI
A newly developed machine learning model can accurately predict which patients are most likely to benefit from prostate multiparametric MRI (mpMRI), according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2018 Annual Meeting, set for April 22-27 in Washington, DC.
Analysis shows influential US prostate study not representative of real-world patients
An analysis of 3 US cancer databases has shown that a major US study comparing surgery with observation in early prostate cancer patients, the PIVOT study, used patients which didn't properly reflect the average US patient.
Depth-sensing imaging system can peer through fog
In a study that holds promise for self-driving cars, MIT researchers have developed a system that can image and gauge the distance of objects shrouded by fog so thick that human vision can't penetrate it.
Automated notification system improves follow-up of actionable tests pending at discharge
A new study by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital demonstrates that the implementation of a simple automated notification system can improve tests pending at discharge (TPAD) follow-up.
New valve technology promises cheaper, greener engines
Technology developed at the University of Waterloo reliably and affordably increases the efficiency of internal combustion engines by more than 10 per cent.
Can artificial intelligence be used to study gut microbes in patients?
A new Journal of Internal Medicine article proposes that artificial intelligence tools, such as machine learning algorithms, have the potential for building predictive models for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases linked to imbalances in gut microbial communities, or microbiota.
Blue holes bring forgotten chemical element back on stage
About a third of all Swiss exports result from fundamental discoveries in synthetic chemistry.
Surpassing critical blood pressure threshold could signal hypertension regardless of age
A new study supports updated blood pressure guidelines that redefine hypertension at a lower threshold.
Three-dimensional printing and bioprinting for tissue engineering
The 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR), held in conjunction with the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), featured a symposium titled 'Three-dimensional Printing and Bioprinting for Tissue Engineering.' The AADR/CADR Annual Meeting is in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA from March 21-24, 2018.
Online tech is changing the dynamics of gift-giving
Online gift-giving is spreading in social networks and causing people to give more gifts -- online and in person -- according to a new study led by René Kizilcec, Cornell University assistant professor of information science.
Transforming oral health through science and evidence-based practice
The 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR), held in conjunction with the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), featured a symposium sponsored by the American Dental Association (ADA) titled 'Transforming Oral Health Through Science and Evidence-based Practice.' The AADR/CADR Annual Meeting is in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA from March 21-24, 2018.
Radar images show large swath of Texas oil patch is heaving and sinking at alarming rates
Radar satellite images show a large swath of Texas oil patch is heaving and sinking at alarming rates, according to a geophysical team from Southern Methodist University.
Order of surgical procedures may affect operating time
Recent reviews have suggested that the way in which surgeons prepare for operations can affect performance, with some preparation techniques resulting in shorter operating times.
Flood protection is everyone's responsibility
Scientists in Vienna have studied the complex interplay between flooding events and economic decisions.
The curse of zombie fossils
Palaeontologists investigate the macabre science behind how animals decay and fossilize.
Conservation costs can be higher than bargained for
Sweeping policies that reward people in environmentally sensitive areas for returning their farmlands to nature have been lauded as ecological triumphs.
Bats can learn from other species, in addition to their own
Not only are bats capable of auditory-based social learning to identify a new food source from individuals in their own species, but they can also learn about new food sources just as quickly from members of a different species, a new study finds.
Flu and pneumonia infections increase risk of having a heart attack and stroke
People who have had flu or pneumonia may be six times more likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke in the days after infection, according to new research published in the European Respiratory Journal.
A natural fertilizer
It's long been known that sharks help nourish coral reefs, but exactly to what extent has never been scientifically mapped out -- until now.
Fixing soybean's need for nitrogen
To make protein, soybean plants need a lot of nitrogen.Beneficial bacteria in root nodules typically assist.
NASA finds major Tropical Cyclone Marcus getting stronger
Now a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, Tropical Cyclone Marcus continues to strengthen as it moves south and keeps off-shore from Western Australia.
Mat baits, hooks and destroys pollutants in water
A polymer mat developed at Rice University has the ability to fish biologically harmful contaminants from water through a strategy known as 'bait, hook and destroy.'
Certain diabetes drugs may be linked to increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease
Use of certain diabetes drugs, known as dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, is associated with an increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease, the digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating, finds a study published by The BMJ today.
Can a smartwatch detect irregular heartbeat?
A smartwatch coupled with a machine learning algorithm was able to detect irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation (AF), with high accuracy in a small group of patients undergoing treatment to restore normal heart rhythm but with lower accuracy in a larger group of people with a self-reported history of AF.
Seismologists introduce new measure of earthquake ruptures
A team of seismologists has developed a new measurement of seismic energy release that can be applied to large earthquakes.
Freezing hunger-signaling nerve may help ignite weight loss
Freezing the nerve that carries hunger signals to the brain may help patients with mild-to-moderate obesity lose weight, according to a study presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting.
Proteins reveal new mechanisms in prostate cancer
A study by the University of Tampere in Finland used protein profiling to find new prostate cancer mechanisms that are not shown by aberrations at the genomic level.
Why has mumps reemerged in the United States?
A recent resurgence in mumps cases in the US may be due to weakening immune protection from the mumps vaccine, researchers report.
Forgetting details, getting the gist may prompt false memories in older adults
Older adults often complain about forgetting, but Penn State psychologists suggest that another problem may be misremembering.
A new angle on gerrymanders
A University of Vermont mathematician has developed a new tool to identify gerrymandered voting districts.
New 4-D printer could reshape the world we live in
Scientists report that they have developed a powerful new printer that could streamline the creation of self-assembling structures that can change shape after being exposed to heat and other stimuli.
'We're sleepwalking into a mass extinction' say scientists
Species that live in symbiosis with others, which often occur in the most delicately balanced and threatened marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, are the slowest to recover their diversity if damaged, according to a team of UK scientists.
Seizures may be detected through sound
A new Epilepsia study indicates that individuals without electroencephalogram (EEG) training can detect ongoing seizures in comatose patients through a novel method by which patients' brain waves are converted to sound.
Scientists use diamond in world's first continuous room-temperature solid-state maser
The breakthrough means masers -- the microwave version of lasers -- could now be used more widely in a range of applications.
New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world
University of Cincinnati geography professor Tomasz Stepinski created a new interactive map that allows students or researchers to compare the climates of places anywhere in the world.
Childhood measles linked to increased risk of later lung disease
In a new Respirology study, having measles -- a highly contagious respiratory infection -- during early childhood was linked with an increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in middle age, but only in adults with asthma and a considerable history of smoking.
Racial disparities in HIV control persist despite equal access to care
Researchers report that racial disparities in HIV control (viral load) exist even when patients have equal access to care, as shown in a study of black and white HIV-infected patients treated in the Veterans Administration (VA) health system.
Cutting greenhouse gas emissions would help spare cities worldwide from rising seas
Coastal cities worldwide would face a reduced threat from sea level rise if society reduced greenhouse gas emissions, with especially significant benefits for New York and other US East Coast cities, new research indicates.
Targeting telomeres to overcome therapy resistance in advanced melanoma
A study conducted at The Wistar Institute in collaboration with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has demonstrated the efficacy of targeting aberrantly active telomerase to treat therapy-resistant melanoma.
New brain scanner allows patients to move freely for the first time
A new generation of brain scanner, that can be worn like a helmet allowing patients to move naturally whilst being scanned, has been developed by researchers at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, University of Nottingham and the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, UCL.
Drinking sugary drinks may be associated with greater risk of death
Being among the highest vs. the lowest 25 percent of consumers of sugary beverages was associated with increased risk of death in people over 45 in an observational study which establishes a trend but does not prove cause and effect.
Elephant and cow manure for making paper sustainably
It's likely not the first thing you think of when you see elephant or cow dung, but this material turns out to be an excellent source of cellulose for paper manufacturing.
Neglect common in English care homes
The largest-ever survey of care home staff in England, led by UCL researchers, has found that neglectful behaviors are widespread.
The quest for neuronal origins
The cerebral cortex consists of a large diversity of neurons, each displaying specific characteristics in terms of molecular, morphological and functional features.
Does menopausal hormone therapy maintain the brain?
Taking menopausal hormone therapy soon after menopause to relieve symptoms may also benefit the brain, according to a study published in the March 21, 2018, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Brief cardiac arrest? Tend to the heart, but don't neglect the brain
Patients who survive a brief cardiac arrest and who appear neurologically intact should nonetheless receive a detailed neuropsychological assessment before being discharged, suggests a joint study by researchers at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute (RRI) and Israel's Rambam Medical Center.
Briefing notes: New papers to be released on burden of low back pain
A new series of papers to be published in The Lancet highlights the extent to which low back pain is mistreated, often against best practice treatment guidelines.
Study evaluates connection between drug, alcohol use and infant abdominal malformation
Alcohol use early in the pregnancy by the mother may be a risk factor for a condition in which an infant's intestines develop outside the abdomen, according to a study published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine.
Do young children learn anything from YouTube videos?
In a new Acta Paediatrica study, children up to 2 years of age could be entertained and kept busy by their parents showing them YouTube clips on smartphones, but they did not learn anything from the videos.
New genetic research shows extent of cross-breeding between wild wolves and domestic dogs
An international study led by the University of Lincoln has shown that mating between domesticated dogs and wild wolves over hundreds of years has left a genetic mark on the wolf gene pool.
Islet transplantation improves QoL for people with hard-to-control type 1 diabetes
Quality of life for people with type 1 diabetes who had frequent severe hypoglycemia -- a potentially fatal low blood glucose leve -- improved consistently and dramatically following transplantation of insulin-producing pancreatic islets, according to findings published online March 21 in Diabetes Care.
Global burden of low back pain -- a consequence of negligence and misinformation
A series of groundbreaking papers from Australian and international researchers in The Lancet warns that low back pain is a major health burden globally -- across developed and developing nations -- and that the current use of X-rays and scans, opioids, injections and surgery to investigate and treat the condition is useless, unnecessary and harmful.
Chronic opioids linked to increased complications after spinal fusion surgery
Patients who have been taking opioid pain relievers for several months before spinal fusion surgery are at increased risk of complications after their surgery, reports a study in the journal Spine, published by Wolters Kluwer.
How often do medical problems lead to bankruptcy?
A new MIT-led study has determined how often medical costs lead to personal bankruptcy.
Researchers discover new anti-cancer protein
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein.
Potassium gives perovskite-based solar cells an efficiency boost
A simple potassium solution could boost the efficiency of next-generation solar cells, by enabling them to convert more sunlight into electricity.
NIH-supported international team confirms new genetic mutation link to ALS
Kinesin family member 5A (KIF5A), a gene previously linked to two rare neurodegenerative disorders, has been definitively connected to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by an NIH-supported international team from several of the world's top ALS research labs.
Parkinson's gene initiates disease outside of the brain
The most common gene mutation associated with Parkinson's alters cells circulating outside the brain, not within, offering a new understanding of what causes the disease.
Protein nutrition for cells and organisms: Can we use it to treat diseases?
A review article by Prof. Stefan Broer, Ph.D., highlights opportunities and challenges in using amino acid transporters as drug targets.
Average size of breast tumors decreased following introduction of screening but is now increasing
The average size of breast cancers at diagnosis decreased dramatically in the 1980s and 1990s following the introduction of screening, according to research presented at the 11th European Breast Cancer Conference.
US national parks increasingly important for bird conservation in face of climate change
US national parks could become even more important for the conservation of bird species in the face of climate change, according to a study published March 21, 2018, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Joanna Wu from the National Audubon Society, US, and colleagues.
Researchers target immune cells to slow progression of ALS
New research into Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - also known as motor neuron disease - shows that specific immune cells may help slow progression of the disease, an important step towards developing new therapies to treat patients.
'Wiggling and jiggling': Study explains how organisms evolve to live at different temperatures
The brilliant physicist Richard Feynman famously said that, in principle, biology can be explained by understanding the wiggling and jiggling of atoms.
A potential drug target against a large family of parasites is identified
An international research team identifies for the first time a key enzyme for the synthesis of glycoconjugates (sugars linked to other molecules) in Plasmodium falciparum and other intracellular parasites belonging to the large phylum Apicomplexa.
Targeted immunotherapy treatment shows promise for treating advanced stage liver tumors
Advanced stage liver tumors may be safely treated through image-guided injections of an immunotherapy approved for melanoma, according to a study presented today at the Society of Interventional Radiology's Annual Scientific Meeting.
Better educated nurses linked to better outcomes in surgical patients with dementia
A new study found that surgical patients with coexisting Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) are more likely to die within 30 days of admission and to die following a complication compared with patients without ADRD.
Hunting squid slowed by rising carbon levels
James Cook University scientists in Australia have found high carbon dioxide levels cause squid to bungle attacks on their prey.
The environment determines Caribbean hummingbirds' vulnerability
Hummingbirds' specialization and vulnerability are often predicted based on their physical traits.
Make way for the mini flying machines
Tiny floating robots could be useful in all kinds of ways, for example, to probe the human gut for disease or to search the environment for pollutants.
Immune cells in the retina can spontaneously regenerate
Immune cells called microglia can completely repopulate themselves in the retina after being nearly eliminated, according to a new study in mice from scientists at the National Eye Institute (NEI).
New data confirm increased frequency of extreme weather events
New data confirm increased frequency of extreme weather events, European national science academies urge further action on climate change adaptation.
Bioengineered tooth bud model functionalized with decellularized tooth bud ECM
At the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR), held in conjunction with the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), Alen Blagajcevic, student at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Mass., presented an oral session titled 'Bioengineered Tooth Bud Model Functionalized With Decellularized Tooth Bud ECM.' The AADR/CADR Annual Meeting is in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA from March 21-24, 2018.
How trees coexist. New findings from biodiversity research published in Nature Communications
One of the most fascinating topics in ecology is the exploration of interactions between plants, specifically in long-lived organisms, such as trees.
Link between 2 key Alzheimer's proteins explained
Alzheimer's disease is characterized by clumps of two proteins -- amyloid beta and tau -- in the brain, but the link between the two has never been entirely clear.
Predators learn to identify prey from other species
Predatory bats learn both from other members of their own species and from other predatory bat species.
Long-term study reveals fluctuations in birds' nesting success
Understanding the factors that affect a bird species' nesting success can be crucial for planning effective conservation efforts.
Model created to help life insurers calculate breast cancer survivors' risk of death
As early detection and treatment of breast cancer improves, more and more women are surviving the disease.
Scientists control molecular alignment on a graphene surface
Scientists at Nagoya University have developed a simple way to align molecules in one direction on a flat graphene surface.
Insects could help us find new yeasts for big business
Yeasts are tiny fungi -- but they play key roles in producing everything from beer and cheese to industrial chemicals and biofuels.
Learning to see
Researchers with the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a new technique based on artificial intelligence and machine learning that should enable clinicians to acquire high-quality images from limited data.
Gradual release of immunotherapy at site of tumor surgery prevents tumors from returning
A new study by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists suggests it may be possible to prevent tumors from recurring and to eradicate metastatic growths by implanting a gel containing immunotherapy during surgical removal of a tumor.
Is there an association between number of patients doctor sees and online patient rating?
Lower online patient ratings for urologists in California were associated with practices that saw more patients.
Mumps resurgence likely due to waning vaccine-derived immunity
A resurgence of mumps in the US among vaccinated young adults appears to be due to waning of vaccine-induced immunity, according to a Harvard T.H.
Neuroscientists develop potential tools for the study of brain function
A team of University of Missouri neuroscientists are inching closer to developing the tools needed to decipher the brain.
The perfect shot of espresso every time with chemistry
The average American drinks more than three cups of coffee a day, contributing to a $40 billion industry in the US alone, according to the National Coffee Association.
Cold can activate body's 'good' fat at a cellular level, study finds
Lower temperatures can activate the body's 'good' fat formation at a cellular level, a new study led by academics at The University of Nottingham has found.
Medical expansion has improved health -- with one exception
While Americans debate the rising cost of health care, a new study of 30 countries over 27 years found that medical expansion has improved overall health -- with one major exception.
New links between genetic abnormality and brain function in Huntington's disease
While the gene mutation that causes Huntington's disease has been associated with changes in certain types of functional brain connectivity, a new study that examined connectivity across the whole brain has now identified alterations in functional connectivity in additional brain networks and has also shown significant associations between the extent of the degree of gene mutation and measures of motor and cognitive function.
Design approach developed for important new catalysts for energy conversion and storage
Northwestern University researchers have discovered a new approach for creating important new catalysts to aid in clean energy conversion and storage.
COSMIC impact: Next-gen X-ray microscopy platform now operational
COSMIC, a next-generation X-ray beamline now operating at Berkeley Lab, brings together a unique set of capabilities to measure the properties of materials at the nanoscale.
Sex workers need workplace regulations to improve safety: Study
Canada's sex workers, many of whom work indoors, are enterprising and vigilant when it comes to protecting themselves against exploitation, assault or robbery.
Researchers fabricate robust superhydrophobic films from anisotropic silica particles
Recent research published in a paper in NANO by a group of researchers from Nanjing Tech University showed an emulsion-based one-pot synthesis of anisotropic silica by adding various silane coupling agents provides an effective strategy to control particle morphology and modification.
Medicating for mental health
University of Guelph researchers found evidence that a single bout of exhaustive exercise protects against acute olanzapine-induced hyperglycemia.
Two genes likely play key role in extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy
A new study has identified two genes associated with hyperemesis gravidarum, whose cause has not been determined in previous studies.
Belly fat promotes diabetes under orders from liver
Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center found that obesity increases the liver's production of an enzyme that triggers inflammation in belly fat.
Banana plant extract could be key to creamier, longer lasting ice cream
Scientists say they are closing in on a cool solution to a sticky problem.
Urgent care center growth in claim lines more than 7 times that of ER from 2007 to 2016
To provide clarity in a rapidly changing healthcare environment, FAIR Health is introducing two new ways to derive insights from healthcare data: FH Healthcare Indicators™ and the FH Medical Price Index™.
Live 3-D printing of osteogenic scaffolds into bone defects
At the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR), held in conjunction with the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), Venu G.
New ALS gene points to common role of cytoskeleton in disease
An international team of researchers led by John Landers, PhD, at UMass Medical School, has identified KIF5A as a new gene associated with the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Researchers link dietary supplement DHA to higher fat-free body mass in children
University of Kansas researchers have reported that pregnant women who consumed a supplement of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a nutrient added to U.S. infant formulas since 2002, tend to have children with higher fat-free body mass at 5 years old.
Identifying the chemical forming carcinogens in recycled water
Engineers at wastewater recycling plants can rest easy knowing that their methods for minimizing the formation of a potent carcinogen are targeting the right chemical compound.
Sweet surprise
Mexican cavefish have insulin resistance, a hallmark of many human metabolic disorders and a precursor to type 2 diabetes that can lead to an overworked pancreas, excess fat storage and chronically elevated blood sugar.

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